Illegal wine signs to be removed for newer system

YAKIMA COUNTY -- Some call the Yakima Valley the "soul" of Washington wine. The problem is that confusing signs lead to a lot of lost souls.

"People are lost on some back road that they don't know the name of it or how to get guided in. That is common," said Tefft Vineyards co-owner Rhonda Taylor.

The worry is that a lack of proper signs will keep people away and cost the local economy. Now, the signs are getting a lot of attention.

Many wineries pay for blue and white tourism signs provided by the state. However, others make their own. That's illegal.

"People are familiar with the white on blue tourist destination sign. They think they need one so they take it upon themselves to go put one up," said Yakima County Traffic Engineering Manager Kent McHenry.

He says about half of signs in the county are illegal and will be removed. The government's spending $150,000 dollars on a new winery sign system in Yakima County.

The money comes from sales taxes generated in Yakima County, but the state mandates that is goes toward economic development and tourism.

"It'll give them a better experience, more visibility and I think ultimately the goal is to get more traffic in the wineries," Taylor said.

More foot traffic along with less lost traffic on the streets. A better flow for drivers, vineyards and perhaps Yakima County's bottom line.